‘It was complete selflessness’ Illinois woman honored for rescuing kidnapped baby

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ALTON, Ill. – Gena Wilson had tears of desperation rolling down her cheeks March 26. Her van was stolen from an Alton driveway. Her 3-month-old child, Ghyadi Jaber, was inside that van. 

“I thought he was gone,” she said.  

A few hours later, Wilson was shedding tears of joy. Brighton resident Brittney Ford was searching for the baby and heard the baby crying. 

Wilson and her baby were reunited. Her child was okay. Wilson said without Ford’s actions, her child would not have survived much longer. 

Ghyadi was face down in a ditch in an area of Alton that is not traveled much.  

“It was complete selflessness,” Wilson said. “She took the time out to look for my baby even though she has her own family.” 

Ford drove from Brighton to Alton back in March to help search for Wilson’s child. Her aunt heard about the amber alert and the two of them started searching.  

Ford’s aunt, Jenny Mawhee, recalls the two of them driving in the cold with their windows down in case they heard the baby crying.  

“If it was my baby, I would want everyone out there,” she said. 

The Alton Police chief recognized Ford during Wednesday’s city council meeting. Ford said she still experiences chills over the fact she found Wilson’s child in time.  

“I still cry sometimes because it’s an emotional thing,” she said. 

Alton Police Chief Marcus Pulido said without a doubt, Ford saved Ghyadi’s life.   

“We put that amber alert out to try to solicit some help and sure enough we got help and it was beyond impressive,” he said.   

A 15-year-old suspect has been charged as an adult in this case.  

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